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Using Evaluability Assessment to Support the Development of Practice-Based Evidence in Public Health

Dunet, Diane O. PhD; Losby, Jan L. PhD, MSW; Tucker-Brown, Aisha PhD, MSW

Journal of Public Health Management & Practice: September/October 2013 - Volume 19 - Issue 5 - p 479–482
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e318280014f
Practice Brief Reports

Practice-based evidence arises from programs implemented in real-world settings. Program success may be judged on the basis of experience; however, formal evaluation studies of methodological rigor can provide a high level of credible evidence to inform public health practice. Such studies can be lengthy and expensive. Furthermore, even well-designed studies may not reach conclusive findings, for example, when a program lacks full implementation, when data systems do not have capacity to collect evaluation data, or when program implementation has not attained stability. An evaluability assessment is used to determine the capacity and readiness of a program for full-scale effectiveness evaluation. Evaluators at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention use evaluability assessment as a preevaluation consisting of brief, focused, criteria-based assessments, document review, and a site visit. Evaluability assessment is used to guide investments in subsequent rigorously designed evaluations that yield conclusive findings to build strong and credible practice-based evidence.

This article describes how the evaluability assessment process can be used to guide investments in rigorous evaluation studies of well-implemented programs to build strong and credible practice-based evidence.

Applied Research and Evaluation Branch, Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.

Correspondence: Diane O. Dunet, PhD, Applied Research and Evaluation Branch, Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Hwy NE, MS F-72, Atlanta, GA 30341 (ddunet@cdc.gov).

The authors thank Marla Vaughan and Michael Schooley with the Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who provided helpful suggestions on an earlier version of this article.

The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.